Odette, the cleaner at Miriam House was paid for five days work. What she did could fit into one eight hour day.
As those on the Board knew nothing about anything, and as the Matron did not hire or fire the Cleaner, Odette had a lot of free time.
Before Selma came, Odette would sit in the back of the teacher’s house, babbling on the cell phone she had stolen from a tenant a few years ago.
Odette had been stealing for a decade and was never even warned with firing.
This is due to the fact Miss Brown, the previous Matron, had lost all interest in Miriam house. Hired as Matron, given no power, unable to fire a cleaner she knew was stealing, why bother?
Brown squatted in her flat, watching television, cashing her pay, letting the place run as Odette determined.
Brown was eventually discharged and replaced by Selma. Just before Selma became bedridden, Hepzibah, one of the most dishonest tenants, tricked Selma into changing the lock on the back gate and giving her the key.
This was plot was created by Hepzibah to give her unfettered access to the back door of the dorm.
Hepzibah had loaned the girls in Room 10 the back door key, so they could easily steal the gas cylinders.